I was all bound and determined to do a forties' fashion post today, but as I was looking around Google books for suitable material, I fell a little bit in love with, of all things, a series of advertisements for ethyl gasoline. Do I honestly know what that is? Well, no. For all I know, what I'm putting in my car at Kroger's Fuel Center on a bi-monthly basis is watered down popcorn oil-- ignorance is a gross understatement of the state of my mechanical and automotive knowledge. However! I DO know that I love any kind of scientific (ish) drawings of strange, real life creatures, and that, my friends, is what these advertisements are really about.
Take a look:
|Armadillo, with an expression like "Who're you callin' 'prehistoric', bub?!"|
The banner reads "When you meet these odd creatures, the TRADEMARKS of NATURE identify them for you; when you buy gasoline, the TRADEMARK of ETHYL identifies gasoline stepped up with 'Ethyl' anti-knock compound". I love that the ad straight up calls these creatures out as "odd". Look at that horseshoe crab's underpinnings! And that angry, angry gila monster!
Imagine being a little kid in the pre-Animal Planet, pre-Steve-Irwin 1940's, and seeing some of these weirdo strangeo creatures in fully detailed illustrations, one page across from the more familiar territory of a brunette hawking hair color treatments or a housewife expounding upon the virtues of Folger's. Your socks would be blown right off, don't you think? An actual flying squirrel? The only one of these you may have seen in person as an American eight year old in 1940 is a praying mantis. Otherwise, barring a trip to your local zoo, you may have never even heard of some of these things! Isn't that wild to think about?
You'd better believe I was excited about this whole ad on apes and monkeys.
While capuchin monkeys are a huge part of any average Youtube video search in our household (that, Stevie Nicks videos, forties' movie trailers, and To Catch a Predator clips dominate our "Your Recommended Videos" feed), seeing one wearing a coat and carrying a staff is touching my undersized human heart. I actually had no idea that their name comes from their pelt and markings' similarities to the habit of a Capuchin monk.You learn something every day! I thought the creature on the right was called a "Han-human", which is hilarious to me, but it turns out it's just a "Hanuman". See how its black brow and face give it a weirdly severe look!
The language of the copy is just adorable, in case you weren't squinting to read the little captions. "Beetling brows", a "devil-mask face" and "tousled mops of long red hair" are the defining characteristics of the above three creatures, respectively. Also, I don't know if its his body language, or the crazy clothes and the trumpet, but I think this chimpanzee below looks less "jolly" and more "dRUNK". I think there may be a similar picture of this monkey freshman year of college, on a girls' floor in violation of visiting hours, horn in hand. "Get that tricycle out of here before the RA sees you!"
The banner for this set read: "When you go down to the sea, the TRADEMARKS of NATURE identify these salty giants!" I have to be honest, these categories are killing me-- odd creatures, apes and monkeys, and salty sea life. All my favorites, covered. Did you know another name for a Manta ray is a "Devil fish"? The caption "The huge devilfish (or Manta) may be easily recognized by a pair of "horns" that Satan himself would be proud of." The italics are my own, but OH MY GOD, DID YOU JUST READ THAT. I officially want to be an ad copywriter for this company, today, now.
Finally, the reason behind these ads! Look how trim that guy looks in his high waisted denim and his smart little cap. Don't you wish there were still full service stations staffed with guys you'd like to give the eye to? I do! If only so I don't have to get out of my car on cold, cold mornings when I've forgotten I'm almost on "E"!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these little creatures as much as I did. Which one is your favorite? Do you think any of these animals would have their feelings hurt if they read this issue of Life and saw all their faults laid out for the world to see? Do you have any old encyclopedias or children's books with similarly bizarre animals on display?
That's all for today-- see you guys tomorrow for Photo Friday!